GREENSBORO, NC, U.S.A., December 20, 2011 - Honda Aircraft Company announced on the one-year anniversary of flight testing of its first FAA design-conforming HondaJet aircraft, that its third conforming aircraft, referred to as "F2," joined flight test and has been conducting extensive flight testing since its first flight on Nov. 18, 2011. This milestone marks important progress toward the HondaJet's certification.
The F2 aircraft's first flight test began with engine startup at 2:04pm Eastern Time and lift-off at 2:21, on Nov. 18, 2011, from Honda Aircraft Company's world headquarters at Greensboro's Piedmont Triad International Airport.
The team completed a variety of checks in this first flight, including: takeoff and climb; landing gear operation; flap operations; aircraft handling; air data system checks with instrumentation; and an Instrument Landing System approach using the flight director. Overall, the aircraft performed quite well, according to the pilots and telemetry teams. Since this first flight, Honda Aircraft has expanded F2's performance envelope as the aircraft has begun its test mission work in earnest.
"The first flight of a flight test aircraft is an important milestone for an aircraft certification program, and the fact that we achieved F2's first flight shortly after receiving its engines illustrates our team's preparation and readiness," said Michimasa Fujino, President and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company. "F2's first flight was the result of extensive planning, hard work and execution by many teams and individuals across our organization and our supply chain partner network. The aircraft's performance is as expected and flying in the aircraft is exhilarating."
The first FAA-conforming HondaJet, F1, which flew for the first time on Dec. 20, 2010, has already achieved key benchmarks that meet or exceed the aircraft's designed performance goals. In March, Honda Aircraft reported the aircraft achieved a maximum speed of 425 KTAS (489 mph) at 30,000 feet, surpassing the company's performance commitment of 420 KTAS. The aircraft has since achieved a climb rate of 4,000 feet per minute, beating its target of 3,990 FPM, and a maximum operating altitude of 43,000 feet.
"While the flight test aircraft are highly visible and vital to our certification program, our structural test aircraft also are just as essential to Honda Aircraft's certification program," continued Mr. Fujino. "In 2011, we made major progress on FAA structural component tests and entire aircraft structural tests with the second conforming aircraft, ST1, and we successfully completed all limit load tests for the aircraft structure."
Honda Aircraft plans to begin flying two additional flight test aircraft, F3 and F4, in 2012. The company also plans to begin structural testing with additional structural test aircraft in 2012.
HondaJet is the most advanced light business jet aircraft, with best-in-class advantages in performance, comfort, quality and efficiency. The HondaJet is the fastest, highest-flying, most quiet and most fuel efficient in its class. The HondaJet incorporates many technological innovations in aviation design, including a unique over-the-wing engine-mount configuration that dramatically improves performance and fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag. This airframe design reduces cabin noise and ground-detected noise when overhead and allows for a more spacious cabin and greater cargo capacity. The HondaJet is powered by two highly fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines, and is equipped with the most advanced glass flight deck available in any light business jet, a Honda-customized Garmin® G3000 next-generation all-glass avionics system with a class-leading layout of three 14-inch landscape-format displays and dual touch-screen controllers. The HondaJet is Honda's first-ever commercial aircraft and lives up to the company's reputation for superior performance, efficiency, and value.
Honda Aircraft Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motors Inc., was founded in 2006 though has its heritage in more than 20 years of ground-breaking aeronautical research and development. At Honda Aircraft's World Headquarters campus in North Carolina, the birthplace of aviation, the company's associates work in more than 500,000 square feet of state-of-the-art R&D, Manufacturing and Administration Headquarter buildings to develop, produce, market and support the HondaJet with HondaJet dealers. The challenging spirit upon which Mr. Soichiro Honda founded Honda Motors is still alive today as Honda Aircraft fulfills one of Honda's long-standing dreams to advance human mobility skyward.